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03-29-2011, 02:58 AM   #1
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645 Film camera. Which model?

I'm thinking of buying a 645 film camera with a 75mm 2.8 lens to have a play around on. I'm not too familiar with the system and was wondering if there is a lot of difference between the 645 the N and the NII?
All of my 645 lenses are manual focus so an auto focus facility isn't important.

One other question, how does this camera perform hand held for natural light portraiture?

Any advice anyone can offer me will be gratefully received. Cheers.

03-29-2011, 09:03 AM   #2
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My choice is the 645N because of the handling and usage. Also, the 645N has data imprinting on the film edge, something missing on the 645. Those two things are very much worth the difference in price over the 645. The 645NII is rather more expensive, but doesn't add very much over the 645N. You can see a comparison under Pentax Camera Reviews at this site.

What do I mean by handling:

Instead of menus, the 645N and 645NII have a separate, single-mode knob for each function, Aperture (on the lens), Shutter, Exposure compensation, Exposure pattern, etc. Set a knob to green it is automatic; off-green to choose manual. That makes it so easy to see what mode you are in: all green and everything is auto.

This design philosophy has been carried over to modern Pentax DSLRs, which caused me to change from Nikon.

Last edited by MetaD; 03-29-2011 at 09:28 AM.
03-29-2011, 09:46 AM   #3
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On price, the plain 645 will do the job. Considerations such as Tom's point to the 645N - and I'll add you get 16 shots per 120 roll with the n, and 15 with the 645.

Either camera will work well hand held - they are deeper than 35mm SLRs, but the handle is good for your right hand, and you can steady the camera underneath and on the lens with your left. These are pretty well balanced and the center of gravity is good, so stable hand held shooting is practical. The shutter/mirror/film advance motor is NOISY though
03-29-2011, 09:53 AM   #4
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Both cameras are really really nice, but there are advantages to the 645N (including a self-timer and brighter viewfinder), and I've seen recent bodies go for not too much more—well worth the investment if you plan to stay with the film format.

03-29-2011, 10:35 AM   #5
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I love the way my 645N shutter sounds!

I found my N on eBay with box and everything mint (no lens, though) for $370.
03-29-2011, 01:08 PM   #6
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Thanks guys, the 645n it is, in that case! Thanks for your help.
03-29-2011, 03:20 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by MetaD Quote
. The 645NII is rather more expensive, but doesn't add very much over the 645N. You can see a comparison under Pentax Camera Reviews at this site..
I do not recommend the 645N due to its film flatness issues. I had severe problems with it and was about to give up the 645 system for this reason. The 645NII can be programmed to take only 15 shots (like the original 645) and problem is solved. The NII also have custom functions that can be set by the user. It also have mirror lock.
03-29-2011, 04:24 PM   #8
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What does "film flatness" mean?

03-29-2011, 04:54 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by gtxtom Quote
What does "film flatness" mean?
It means that the film isn't flat in the film holder. With 16 frames per 120 roll the bend in the film from the magazine rolls will be placed on the lower part in the next frame. If there is some time between each shot (this could be from a few minutes) the lower part of the (next) image will be out of focus because the film isn't flat. With 15 frames per roll the "bent" parts of the film is between frames...
03-29-2011, 05:06 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
It means that the film isn't flat in the film holder. With 16 frames per 120 roll the bend in the film from the magazine rolls will be placed on the lower part in the next frame. If there is some time between each shot (this could be from a few minutes) the lower part of the (next) image will be out of focus because the film isn't flat. With 15 frames per roll the "bent" parts of the film is between frames...
This is the number one reason why I chose the NII over the N, there's several good discussions on it at photo.net. Unless you plan on shooting the whole roll in one outing, you will have issues.
I've been extremely satisfied with my NII, its a great camera and works well as a stable mate to my 67.
03-29-2011, 06:52 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Halco Quote
This is the number one reason why I chose the NII over the N, there's several good discussions on it at photo.net. Unless you plan on shooting the whole roll in one outing, you will have issues.
I've been extremely satisfied with my NII, its a great camera and works well as a stable mate to my 67.
Some say they never have this problem. Others say you need to burn a shot or two on the 645n if the film has been sitting around a while, or shoot something with a smaller aperture. You may gain an exposure on some rolls with the 16 exposures and lose on another. It is probably not a real great idea to let film sit a long time in the camera anyway.
03-30-2011, 02:58 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
It means that the film isn't flat in the film holder. With 16 frames per 120 roll the bend in the film from the magazine rolls will be placed on the lower part in the next frame. If there is some time between each shot (this could be from a few minutes) the lower part of the (next) image will be out of focus because the film isn't flat. With 15 frames per roll the "bent" parts of the film is between frames...
One of the reasons why I was never really a fan of electronic winders on film cameras, with manual advance it is easy to tweak the pressure plate so it smashed the film flat against the rails and you would almost never see this issue. With motorised film advance they couldn't make the pressure plate too firm - it had to have some "give" to let the film advance easier - hence the film flatness issues, but they are easily prevented by the precautionary measures mentioned above.
03-30-2011, 03:14 AM   #13
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Does it make the shots totally unusable or just a little off?
03-30-2011, 05:16 AM   #14
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Depends on how badly things are misaligned really but with older cameras they tend to be really well put together anyway. Newer, mass produced cameras can deviate rather badly from the specification Phase one say that their sensor alignment of their digital backs can be 0.5mm+/- I have seen some that were 0.3mm outside of spec and on a 80Mp digital back on a camera with a fixed gate that figure can amount to a lot. But with film you won't really have to worry about much.

But at worst you could be focusing manually on someone's eyes when in actuality the focus point would be a few millimetres further forward or behind that point. The larger to format gets the more serious(and obvious) focus errors become.
03-30-2011, 05:39 AM   #15
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In the case of the 645 with 16 exp. (not just Pentax, BTW), it means there could be a strip down one side that is at a different focus than the middle. If the camera is sitting with film in it, one side of the film has a bend in it from conforming to the roller at the edge of the insert. Usually the first exposure is not affected because it has been sitting flat. It is the second exposure which has been waiting that has the curve on one side and may need to be burned.

Now, if the second shot uses a small aperture, or there is nothing important at the edge, then, perhaps, macht es nichts. As a habit, though, it makes sense to take two exposures of your subject on the second shot waiting. Personally, I love a bargain. My worn old 645 was so cheap it was almost a gift, and my 645n was much cheaper than an NII, so I can live with it. If I needed perfection, I'd probably spring for a 'blad. I have never actually had a film flatness issue, and I have gained from the 16 exposures more than I have lost. I do wish good 120 inserts hadn't gotten so dear, though.
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